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Column: How to procrastinate


As the window closes on yet another unsuccessful submission deadline (this time for college applications), many seniors are rushing on their college applications because of  a naturally-occurring trend: procrastination.

Often present in large quantities among stressed yet lazy high schoolers, procrastination is hidden under the guise of productivity. As an expert procrastinator myself (I won the “Master Procrastinator” award on the Paly Debate Team), I’ve compiled a handy guide for identifying the varying productivity levels present in teenagers faced with a deluge of work.

[divider]Procrastination through culinary discovery[/divider]

Having access to a large palette of food within walking distance is truly a blessing. Stocked with a large supply of instant ramen, waffle mix, dairy and bread, home kitchens pose a large threat to the productivity levels of high school students. Instead of completing American Pageant readings or UChicago’s “quirky” supplement, teenagers are in the kitchen past midnight creating a slightly-burnt grilled cheese sandwich.

Although midnight grilled cheese sandwiches eventually made their way onto my USC “favorite snack” list, culinary adventures like these can seriously distract from any lingering work. Unfortunately, 1 a.m. cooking sessions may have unintended consequences, as you may accidentally awaken parents by dropping various pots and pans in a clumsy attempt to strain pasta.

[divider]Procrastination through social media[/divider]

Heavily covered in my other columns, social media poses a great threat to the productivity of teenagers. With an omnipresent need to embarrass others in group chats and responding to friends tagging you in “@E needs to buy you a burrito,” social media prevails over all other forms of work and is one of the biggest causes of procrastination..

Social media platforms may even stray outside of its traditional forms like Instagram and Snapchat to include Reddit and YouTube, which send teenagers down a never-ending time sink. An ill-timed “break” may turn into an extended YouTube session that ends by watching “2017 Top 10 SoundCloud rappers.” Additionally, any teen spending excessive time with Facebook messaging  windows open is likely to have some incomplete homework remaining.

[divider]Procrastination through a profound lack of intelligence[/divider]

In contrast to other items on this list, which detail how outside factors work to distract a student, a student may find the work itself propelling them towards procrastination. In cases where students can’t understand what proteins do or how to use conditional probability, they may turn away from their work.

Even with valiant efforts to stay in front of the textbook, students like me without the intellectual capacity to comprehend the notes they copy will inevitably end up blankly staring at their paper for hours. A gateway drug into other forms of procrastination, students who cannot understand why a thesis needs to have X, Y and Z parts will later find themselves lip-syncing to Lil Uzi Vert at 2 a.m. instead of studying.

These are not all of my strategies for procrastinating, but I plan on finishing this list sometime soon.

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